Schools in Kerala, remained closed since the imposition of coronavirus lockdown in March, will reopen partially on January 1, marking a new beginning in the education sector, but strictly in compliance with COVID protocols.
The classes for 10th and 12th standards would begin with limited hours and restricted number of students, official sources here said on Thursday.
State Health Minister K K Shailaja said here on Thursday that the academic year, which comes at a time of COVID pandemic, should be dealt with confidence but caution.
“Students should not be afraid to go to schools. The governmenthas made all arrangements,” she said, urging everyone to strictlyfollow the guidelines issued by the health and the educations departments.
A recent high-level meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, had decided to reopen the educational institutions, including schools and colleges, in adherence with COVID guidelines.
As of Wednesday, Kerala has over 65,000 active COVID-19 cases as it has been reporting fresh infections in large numbers in recent months.
In its guidelines, the General Education Department has directed that only 50 per cent of students be allowed at a time in schoolsand that classes be arranged as one student per bench in the first week.
It is better to allow 25 per cent of the students at a time inschools, where their strength exceeds 300 in number in classes 10 and 12, according to the guidelines issued by the Director of Public Instructions (DPI).
In the detailed instructions given, the authorities have asked the school managements to ensure masks, sanitizer, digital thermometer and soaps in their institutions.
Students should be asked to maintain a distance of two meter between each other and classes may be conducted in shifts of limited hours if necessary, it said.
Articles in classes should be disinfected every two hour and children should be admitted in classes only with the consent of parents.
As per the present plan, the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) and Higher Secondary (HSC) second year board exams would be held from March 17 to 30 in strict compliance with COVID protocols.
At the college level, graduate and post-graduate classes and classes at the Universities of Agriculture and Fisheries would also begin early January with limited number of students.
It was also decided to start classes from second year in medical colleges, official sources added.